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I bought a Wii! Yes, in 2020! Nearly 15 GameCube and Wii game impressions inside! Nostalgia is pleasure... and pain!
by 
Editor-in-chief
January 30, 2020, 19:33:05
 
Introduction

So, historically in my family when a new Nintendo console releases I buy it day one, and then pass on my old one to my nieces and nephews. I believe this first started when I bought the Wii and passed on my GameCube. At that point, it wasnít much of a loss to me, because the Wii played GameCube games anyway. But then the Wii U came along and I gave away my Wii, and although the Wii U plays Wii games, it doesnít play GameCube games, so I no longer had a way to play my GameCube games. To be honest, I wasnít thinking much about playing GameCube games at that point anyway.

But a few years later, I got the urge to play some of the GameCube classics, so I asked for my GameCube back. They had a Wii that played GameCube games now anyway, they didnít need my GameCube anymore! Well, I got it back, but with one major problem. It didnít work. They had broken it! No use crying over spilt milk, right? And I figured Iíd be getting my Wii back eventually, so I would be able to play my GameCube games at that point anyway. Just needed to be patient and all would be well. What could go wrong?

You can probably see where this is going.

But youíre wrong! The Switch released, I gave them my Wii U, got my Wii back, and it worked!

No I lied, youíre right. It workedÖ for like an hour. Sort of. With a bunch of disk read errors. And then the drive completely died, wouldnít even spin.

I love my nieces and nephews, but they are notorious for wrecking my things.

So now I had no way to play any of my GameCube games or my Wii games! Thatís like, more than half of 3D era Nintendo! To be honest, I kind of just accepted it as a fact of life for awhile, but recently, on a whim, I decided to check how much a Wii costs in 2020. And I found one for $40 on Amazon. And I had $40 worth of Amazon points sitting there. So I figured, what the heck, you only live once, right?

And honestly, it was exciting! It felt almost like buying a new system again. Getting that box in the mail, hooking it up. Going through the settings. I made some Miis again! And unlike a day one system, I already had tons and tons of games for this one. I wanted to play them all again! Well, maybe not all of them.

Also, Amazon messed up my order and didnít include Wii Sports / Wii Sports Resort even though they were listed, and decided to give me a full refund and let me keep the Wii. So I got it for free! And I already have Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort anyway!

Anyhow, I decided to write out some impressions of everything Iíve been playing since I got my new Wii a few days ago. I didnít get to play everything that I would have liked to, as my nieces and nephews still have a fair amount of my games at their place (even my GameCube games, although they have no way to play them anymore), but luckily I still have a bunch of my best games on me, so...

Here goes!


Metroid Prime - GameCube


Progress: A few hours, fairly deep into the Chozo Ruins.

Takeaway: Metroid is one of my favorite franchises and Metroid Prime was one of my favorite games ever. Absolute masterpiece. Iíve replayed it several times, but the last time was many years ago. But does it hold up years later?

Honestly, after my first session a few days ago (basically just got through the space station and messed around a little bit on the planet) I felt a bit let down. The controls feel a bit limiting (I kind of see why a lot of people wanted it to have dual analog now.) And donít tell Anand I said this, but scanning does feel kind of like an unnecessary addition, though that isnít a huge deal, since you can mostly ignore scanning.

But then I played it again the next day, and started getting my powers back, fought a few mini-bosses, etc. and everything started clicking again. This game is so amazing! Everything is so well crafted, a great blend of action and environmental puzzles! Plus I think it was one of the first (and still one of the only) games to really do ďMetroidvaniaĒ well in 3D. And I love how this is one of the few games where interacting with the environment in ways enemies canít makes complete sense in regards to the story as well (the Chozo did make your suit after all.) And that jumping, how did they nail 1st person platforming so well?!

Iím not totally sure what the long term goal is with this playing a bunch of old games thing right now, but I feel like I might just play through the whole game again?

Random: Itís kind of funny to me that we see a more specific representation of how the morph ball works in this game than we ever have, and it makes even less sense to me than whatever vague ideas I had before. So Samus just sort of curls up into a ball and a bigger metal ball forms around her? And then she rolls around like that?! And this works, somehow?!


Resident Evil 4 - GameCube


Progress: A few hours, at the start of chapter 2-1 (right after fighting the lake boss.)

Takeaway: Resident Evil 4 was another of my all-time favorite games and honestly, it still freaking destroys everything. I thought I would just pop it in for a bit but instead I played a few hours straight, staying up way too late on a work night. Every time I play through this game Iím once again amazed at how they made a 20ish hour action game and literally every part of it is memorable. Every new room or area I walk into I go ďoh yeah, this part!Ē There is pretty much no filler here. Not much more to say about it really than itís still awesome and Iím still loving it.

I will say this, outside of a little bit of Remake and Resident Evil 0 here and there at my cousinís, I had little exposure to Resident Evil before 4, so I never quite understood some of the complaints from diehard Resident Evil fans. But now that Iíve played almost every Resident Evil game, including all of the ones that preceded 4, I kind of get it. This is a very different type of game than the ones before it, and to people heavily invested in the survival horror / zombie / Umbrella Corp / etc. aspects of Resident Evil, 4 must have been an odd beast. But I came into it relatively distant from all of that, so I got to fully enjoy it for what it was, a spectacular action horror game!

I actually very much love both the survival horror and action horror Resident Evil styles (though the latter went downhill quickly after 4.) I just played through the survival horror focused remake of 2 and absolutely loved it, it was easily my GOTY of 2019. But man would I kill to have another action horror Resident Evil at the level of 4 or, gaspÖ even better?

I have this dream for Resident Evil where they split the franchise in two, and keep making survival horror and action horror games, and in my dream theyíre all amazing games.

A man can dreamÖ

Anyway, much like Metroid Prime Iím not sure what my plans are with this game right now, but I could definitely see myself playing through the whole game again.

Random: Iíve been exploring a bit deeper than I had in the past, and I keep finding stuff I never found before. Like, I found a beer mug hidden at the farm? Iíve played through this game many times before and never even saw this!


Resident Evil (Remake) - GameCube


Progress: A few hours into Chrisís path, just used the whistle to call the dogs to kill them to get a new key.

Takeaway: This is probably the game that most led to me rebuying the Wii. Not because I love it so much, although I do love it. But because I was bored at my cousinís house and started playing Chrisís path, which I had never played before (I only played through Remake once, with Jill), and then realized Iíd much rather play it at home on my own terms. I thought about buying the game again on a newer console, but I kept thinkingÖ I already have this game! So I bought a Wii instead.

Anyway, though Resident Evil 4 is and possibly always will be my favorite Resident Evil game, I do like the survival horror games a lot as well, and Iím glad both styles exist. And Remake is a great remake of the game that started it all, so itís a good one to play. Itís slow and tense and then when some bursts of action hit, itís very intense.

Considering that I basically bought a Wii to play this, I do intend to finish Chrisís path.

Random: I started playing on the harder mode of the two you can select but holy F there are way more zombies, without much ammo or healing items. I probably could have kept progressing but it just felt unclear to me what the game even expects you to do at points, since I would often have no ammo, no healing items, and need to get past some zombies that were definitely going to grab me. So I wussed out and went back to the easy mode But it feels a bit too easy! I think newer versions of Remake have 3 difficulty modes, I wonder if they balanced it out a bit and made a more middle ground mode?


Super Monkey Ball - GameCube


Progress: A half hour maybe? Got through the first set of stages, tried the second set, got kind of far, died.

Takeaway: This is another one of my favorite games of all-time (GameCube was pretty awesome, eh?) It was also notoriously hard. Replaying it years later, I figured I could jump back in pretty easily, but oh man was I wrong. Itís so tough! And you need to be so precise at times! And the camera isnít always on your side! I wouldnít say I had a bad experience replaying it, but I think Iíd need to really relearn how to play this game again if I wanted to get much further into it.

I didnít really get a chance to try out the multiplayer this time around but this game had some pretty sick multiplayer too. Though I actually think the sequel is better for the multiplayer. 4 player simultaneous Monkey Target!

Random: I always loved the way that you play through the end credits collecting all of the letters that you can, and in fact, the game I am developing has something very similar that was definitely inspired by Super Monkey Ball.


Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader - GameCube


Progress: An hour or so, finished the first 3 stages, which include the Death Star attack and Hoth.

Takeaway: I liked this game a lot in the past, though playing it now some parts feel a bit outdated. Especially since I am recently coming off of Ace Combat 7, which controls pretty spectacular for a flight shooter, the controls of Rogue Leader feel a bit wonky. When youíre flying over a surface it is fine, but when youíre in full 3d outer space it kind of tries to auto-correct things a lot, and gets confusing. Some of the mission objectives are a bit unclear as well, and it has a lot of ďmake sure this thing isnít destroyedĒ type missions which are fine, I suppose, but can be frustrating when the thing is blown up and you donít even totally understand what enemies blew it up.

With that said itís still a lot of fun. The missions are varied and usually have multiple objectives that change on the fly. Iíve been on a bit of a Star Wars kick lately and itís hitting the spot. I doubt I will replay the whole game but I might do a few more missions.

Random: I totally forgot that you actually play as mother f-ing Wedge Antilles in some of the missions in this game. Wedge is the GOAT.


F-Zero GX - GameCube


Progress: Not a whole lot, a handful of races.

Takeaway: I love F-Zero GX but holy cow do I suck at it now. Iím sure if I put the time in I could get good again, but I spent most of my races just smacking into walls left and right and feeling like I had no control over anything.

Iím not saying the game didnít pass the test of time or anything like that, just that it has a learning curve and if you havenít played it in awhile, you might be surprised at how much you forgot. That muscle memory just isnít there for me anymore.

Still looks very pretty though! And I do want to give it another shot. Maybe Iíll get back into my groove.

Random: I feel like Iím the only person in the world who mained Beastman. The Hyper Speeder is awesome though!


Donkey Kong Jungle Beat - GameCube


Progress: About a half hour, finished the first 4 worlds.

Takeaway: First off, I forgot how quickly these worlds go by. Just two short levels and a boss! To be honest I remember really loving this game back when it released, but playing through it now it just feltÖ well, it still feels pretty good, but not really something I need to play a bunch more of again. I do think it has some nice creative glimpses of the future from the team that went on to make Super Mario Galaxy. And honestly, you canít beat a platformer that you control with bongos for the uniqueness factor.

I do remember getting deeper into the combo system back in the days, so maybe thatís where the depth lies. But I just donít have the time and energy to get back into this game for high scores, so I guess this is it for me and Donkey Kong Jungle Beat for now.

Random: I got stuck at the pre-title screen for like a minute wondering what was wrong because I didnít realize it was asking me to clap 3 times quickly. Oops.


Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour - GameCube


Progress: Less than an hour, played 18 holes on the sand course.

Takeaway: This was a huge game for my cousin and I, because our gaming tastes didnít always overlap, but we both loved golf games. So I played a ton of this with him over the years, and he keeps asking to play it again, and I keep having to remind him that I have no way to play my GameCube games anymore. Had no way. Now we can play it again!

Iíd say itís still pretty fun! Some of the controls can be a bit confusing if you havenít played it in awhile, likeÖ start your swing with this button, and after starting, use one button if you want an auto shot, use a different button if you want manual, and then use one of these 4 two button combinations for the different types of spin. Whoosh! I kept doing the wrong thing in my 2020 playthrough.

But still, itís a great game in a series that kind of died (the 3ds game was solid but not quite the same as the big screen experience, and we havenít seen once since) so while I might not play it a bunch on my own, I can see popping it in sometimes when my cousin is over.

Random: Birdoís big olí snout gets in the way when youíre trying to putt.


Super Mario Galaxy - Wii


Progress: An hour or so, got the first 3 stars.

Takeaway: Though Iíd give the sequel (which is with my nieces and nephews right now) the nod, both Galaxy games are for me some of the best 3D platforming there is. Itís an interesting concept that Nintendo managed to pull off very well.

Playing it now, it still works, though there is definitely a bit of a learning curve when it comes to moving around the spheres and getting the camera where you want it. Itís not a huge deal though, and everything feels so smooth. I didnít really get far enough in to see some of the most creative stuff again, but what I played was pretty fun, so I do want to keep playing more.

The waggle stuff is definitely unnecessary though. As you will see below, I think the Wii pointer / motion controls passed the test of time more than I expected them to, but in a game like this it just feels forced.

Random: I know some people see it as a ďgimmickĒ that should stick to the Galaxy games, but I really feel like the gravity mechanics / sphere worlds they introduced expanded the genre of 3D platforming as a whole, and should come back in future games. Better yet, just make Super Mario Galaxy 3!


Sin & Punishment: Star Successor - Wii


Progress: About 20ish minutes, got through the tutorial and the first stage?

Takeaway: I absolutely loved this game back when it released, it felt like it took what I loved about 2D SHMUPs and brought it all into 3D in a pretty brilliant way. While Star Successor lost a bit of the ďthis is almost like Star Fox!Ē feel of the original Sin & Punishment, it was so sleek and action packed that it was hard to complain.

It might not seem like it based on my super short playtime, but I jumped back into it and was enjoying myself all over again. This game is intense! I love how it has shooting and melee attacks, and you can use melee to hit stuff back at enemies. And it really feels like one of the best uses of the Wii controller, taking traditional controls and combining them with pointer aiming very fluidly.

Absolutely want to play more, at some point. Although the servers for the leaderboards are no longer up. Boo.

Random: Does anybody have any idea WTF the story in these games is? Itís very incomprehensible to me.


Wii Sports Resort - Wii


Progress: About an hour, played each sport once.

Takeaway: Iím going to be honest, I mostly popped this game in because you canít write about the Wii without writing about Wii Sports (and Resort is the apex of Wii Sports), figuring Iíd play it for 15 minutes or so and move on, but then I remembered how frickiní awesome it is! Archery! Dog frisbee! Table tennis! And of course the classics like golf and bowling. Sure it has some stinkers too but there is enough good stuff here for a consistently great time, especially if you have friends to play with. I didnít have friends to play with this time around, but I mean, in theory. And the Wii MotionPlus controllers work very well!

Even if almost nothing else used them since! Itís probably still one of the fullest realizations of motion controls, and it actually makes me kind of sad that they couldnít find a way to implement some of this stuff into other games. Archery especially seems like one that would be great in an action / adventure game, but itís hard to imagine how to get it to work in that type of game when youíre already using both of your hands just for the bow controls. How would you move / jump / etc.?. Ah well, someday, I believe, developers and new technologies will solve these issues and weíll have some truly immersive games. For now though, Wii Sports Resort feels like it occupies a unique little spot in gaming history. I guess VR is keeping motion alive a bit, but it still feels like motion controls died too soon!

Random: I think that Iíve seen that unskippable 3 minute movie at the start of this game like 5 different times now. UG.


Rhythm Heaven Fever - Wii


Progress: 20 or 30 minutes, played through the first few stages.

Takeaway: Rhythm Heaven Fever was one of those rare Nintendo Wii games that completely ignored the Wii controls and focused on button pushing without any waggle thrown in. While this could be disappointing in some cases, for a precise rhythm game it was probably the best choice. And this also means that itís a very easy game to jump right back into! Itís kind of hard to not pass the test of time when your entire game boils down to ďpush the button/s at the right time.Ē

So yeah, itís still a lot of fun and itís easy to jump right back into as if I never went away. Not sure how much of this I will replay again, but itís definitely a good one to hop on for a few minutes here and there.

Random: Karate Man for Smash!


Trauma Center: New Blood - Wii


Progress: An hour or so, finished the first few missions.

Takeaway: This is actually one of the first games I started replaying right when I got my Wii, because I wanted an experience I havenít had in awhile, and Trauma Center is very much an experience you canít easily get with a traditional controller. So that also means this was my first Wii game experience in a long, long time. Many years at this point. Admittedly, even though I championed them at the time, I kind of assumed that the Wii pointer / motion controls would feel super outdated by now, and a game like this that relies on them so heavily would be hard to play in 2020.

I was wrong! This game feels very smooth! Even back in the days I remember being surprised at how well they pulled off the controls. The DS had a screen that you directly touched, so there was a more clear sense of space and feedback in the DS Trauma Center. In the Wii version youíre just kind of hovering your arm in the air. It could have turned out very poorly. But itís very easy to play.

And this kind of gameplay is just plain interesting. There isnít much like it on Nintendo consoles anymore. It was a series that had a bunch of games in a short amount of time and then died just as fast. Iíd definitely like to see this series return one day.

Random: Iím like 99% sure I could successfully perform any random surgery because of my competency in this game.


No More Heroes - Wii


Progress: About an hour, beat the first stage and boss.

Takeaway: No More Heroes was never quite at the level of a AAA polished game, but it had a fun battle system that actually utilized motion controls well, and an excellent soundtrack and punk rock aesthetics that made it stand out. Also you got to mow lawns. Playing it now in 2020 didnít quite get me hooked enough to want to play through the whole game again, but itís still an interesting experience, and it did make me excited for No More Heroes 3. Though, I wonder if No More Heroes without motion controls will feel like it is missing something a bit? Weíll see.

Random: That lightsabÖ I mean uh, beam sword... charge move tho.


Conclusion

There are many other games I would have liked to replay, like Viewtiful Joe, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Punch-Out!! Wii, WarioWare: Smooth Moves, etc. but as I said, a lot of them are not in my possession right now. Youíll probably also notice I didnít replay any Zelda games this time around, which if you know how much I love Zelda, might seem a bit odd. I do actually still have my copies of Wind Waker and Twilight Princess on me, but I guess to me Zelda is not the type of thing you can just jump into and play for an hour or so and get much out of it (and the one Iím most interested in replaying, Twilight Princess, starts off very slow.) With that said I really want to play multiplayer The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures again one of these days (only got about halfway through it, so there would still be a lot of new stages to play), but that is a tough one to get the people and gear together for. Maybe weíll have to make it happen at one of my rocking Chicago game parties! I feel like Iíve been saying that forever.

Iím going to get a bit serious at the end here though. I did have an odd moment where, in the midst of all of this GameCube / Wii era nostalgia, thinking about the past cut pretty deep. I feel like this relates to the GameCube era specifically because that was an era where I had a life that at the time felt kind of mundane, but that I greatly miss in some ways. My brother, a few of my cousins, and I would meet up at my one cousinís almost every weekend for weekend-long sleepovers and play the heck out of the GameCube (and occasionally PS2, and others.) This went on for years. We especially played a lot of multiplayer games, like the aforementioned Mario Golf and Super Monkey Ball, as well as Mario Tennis, Mario Party, Smash Bros, Mario Kart, Bomberman, 4 Swords Adventures, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, Soccer Slam, and more. But we played single player games there as well, and he had 2 TVs in his room, so often we would have multiple games going at once. And well... time has passed and weíre all still friends, but things changed and we all finally grew up (more or less) and we just donít get together to sit around playing video games for hours on end anymore. Heck, even on the rare occasion when we do get together and play some games, the stresses of adult life make it hard to just get lost in them the way we used to. That past is a slice of time that has been lost forever.

In my case, Iím 40 now, and realizing a lot of my goals and dreams arenít happening quite the way I had intended. Life has certainly gotten better in a lot of ways too. During the GameCube era I was in my 20s and struggling to figure out my career while totally failing at finding a good relationship, whereas now Iíve finally sorted my career out a bit and have an awesome wife that Iíve been with for 10 years. If Iím honest with myself my 20s were a pretty rough time for me and a lot of this nostalgia is probably happening through rose-colored glasses that donít fully reflect the realities involved. But when youíre 20 and struggling you at least still feel like you have this vast and open future to sort it all out in, while when youíre 40 and still struggling, you start to wonder how much of it you will ever get sorted out before the curtain starts to close. So my life is good in many ways but times are still tough, thinking about the past can hurt a bit, and man do I miss those near weekly gaming binges where I could shut my mind off a bit, gorge on sour patch kids and Arizona iced teas, and play Nintendo games all weekend long. I still try to have gaming parties on occasion, but theyíre rare and not quite the same.

Nostalgia is definitely a double-edged sword. Wield it at your own risk!

Regardless, I feel like this was a $40 very well spent (especially since it was refunded like 2 days later anyway.) Iíve already gotten hours and hours of fun out of my new Wii, and although I have no idea how much I really want to sit around playing a bunch of old games when my backlog on new games is seemingly endless, I feel like Iím now re-hooked on a few of them. Special thanks to my wife for watching me hovering on the Amazon purchase page for like 20 minutes unable to decide if I should really buy a console that I had already owned just to play a bunch of games that I have already played to death for telling me that if I want it, I should just get it. Nostalgia may be a double-edged sword, but the GameCube and Wii eras were both pretty freaking sweet. Iím glad that I have a way to experience their respective games again.

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Posted: 01/30/20, 19:33:05  - Edited by 
 on: 01/30/20, 19:32:20    
 
Why not sign up for a (free) account and create your own content?
 
Zero said:
Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour - So I theoretically thought in some vague future my cousin and I might play this again without knowing if and when it would happen, but he came over last night and wanted to play so we played 4 straight 9 hole (random) rounds. .
I'm curious, do you remember which characters you used for these matchups? And were they star characters or non-star?


Posted by 
 on: 02/07/20, 21:54:37
I pretty much always use Star Daisy, and he used Star Mario, who has a 10 yard stronger drive which I guess is an advantage, but a straight on shot, which I HATE, so I'd certainly never use him myself.

I swear he didn't use Mario in the past though, don't remember who his main character was. Waluigi maybe? Or was that for Mario Tennis? Or both?! He tended to use Waluigi whenever possible. I was surprised when he picked Mario because I know that wasn't his character.


Posted by 
 on: 02/08/20, 04:01:36  - Edited by 
 on: 02/08/20, 04:03:34
Zero said:
I pretty much always use Star Daisy

Ah, a man of taste.

The only thing better is Lefty Star Daisy.


Posted by 
 on: 02/08/20, 05:40:55


😳


Posted by 
 on: 02/08/20, 07:55:16
UPDATES

Resident Evil 4 - Got to the castle. Game is still awesome.

I've been pretty much on next to no healing items for like... most of the game? I don't remember this game being so stingy with healing items! Though I guess it has that dynamic balancing thing for items so maybe if I played worse, I'd get more, heh. I've also been low on shotgun shells for most of the game too. I really don't remember having to worry about health and ammo so much! And now that I have Ashley, that is two people to manage health for.

I was almost let-down by how easy the cabin fight was. I remembered it being notoriously wild and intense but you can basically just stand in one place upstairs and blast anything that moves for most of it, knocking down a ladder or two here and there. I had more trouble in the village fight this time around?! Ah well, the cabin is still super cool.

I also didn't remember how FAST your health goes down. I would have sworn you could get hit like 5 or 6 times before you die but nah, a few hits and YOU ARE DEAD. And since I rarely have healing items, I need to just like, not get hit that much!

It's actually very interesting to me playing this through for the first time since back when it came out (I did play through it like 3 times back then I think... normal mode, hard mode, and infinite rocket launchers?) Because back then it was really, aside from a little bit at my cousin's, my first Resident Evil experience. But playing it now after basically playing most of the Resident Evil games it's like wow, this really was such a drastically different game in the series! But man I wish they could find a way to bring it back in style. A truly amazing follow-up to Resident Evil 4 would be so good.

@carlosrox I vaguely remember that one.


Posted by 
 on: 02/08/20, 08:13:00  - Edited by 
 on: 02/08/20, 08:18:48
UPDATES

Resident Evil 4 - Up to 4-1 in the castle!

First off, crazy Mandela Effect going on here. I swear in my mind I remember Luis dying and then instantly going into a boss battle with the huge (like, stories tall), scorpion-like creature that killed him. Does anyone else remember anything like this?! But... that's not what happens at all! He gets killed by Saddler, Saddler leaves, and then Leon just moves on and finds Ashley, etc. And i think I know the rest of the boss fights in the game so, this one in my mind just like, doesn't exist? WHERE DID IT COME FROM?!

Anyway. If you had asked me to list out everything I remember about the castle before replaying this, most of it would be stuff in 3-1 through 3-4. The catapult section, the wolverine-esque guy, the infamous water room, the bug filled sewers, the dog-filled hedge maze, that weird shoot the food on the wall puzzle, Ashley's section...

Now I'm trying to remember what is even left for the second half of the castle. I remember... the fire area with the moving things and you need to snipe the guys in them. The huge Salazar statue, the actual Salazar boss fight, uh... can't remember much else? I think there was an underground / cave type section or something? Or is that on the island?

But hey, that's good, it'll be like new to me!

Except pretty much everything in Resident Evil 4 is memorable, so even when I'm looking at the map to see where I'm headed next I often just look at the shape of the room and go OHHHHHHHH, THAT ROOM! Like every freaking room is just another excellent set-piece! It's amazing! Procedurally generated gaming is growing on me, but it's tough to imagine it ever feeling as good as an experience like this where every room is hand-crafted to perfection.


Posted by 
 on: 02/14/20, 00:27:24  - Edited by 
 on: 02/14/20, 00:34:54
A NEW CHALLENGER APPROACHES



Oh no, what have I done? Am I really going to play through the entire trilogy again?

At this point, probably!

Anyway, having played through the first Metroid Prime I popped this one in and thought I'd maybe play it a bit, but I'm already hooked again! A few hours into it, pretty deep into the first area. Sure, the game isn't quite as good as the original. And some of the graphic design is a bit odd.

And the intro sequence, outside of some creepy zombie space marines, doesn't really do much interesting. And the first main area is another sand area, even though the first Prime had a sand area. And it has ammo. WHY? Who wants to manage ammo in a Metroid game?! And it has the dark world parts, which I actually don't mind too much, but the whole "you lose health outside of the bubbles but gain it back when under the bubbles" thing was weird. You just end up sitting at the bubbles, sometimes for a longggggggg time, to get your health all the way back. It's actually kind of hard to die in any given fight too, as long as a bubble is around! Not much tension.

But it's still a great game! Minor quibbles! I mean, it's more Metroid Prime! Areas are well designed. Combat is fun. And it does some things better too. I'm already remembering how much they upped the morph ball stuff in the sequel. Lots of cool morph ball sequences and puzzles already!

Hmm. And I remember really liking the swamp area, and that weird kind of techno city area was pretty cool too. Can't wait!

When I shut the game off today I thought, this is like... comfort food? New games are fun too, but I feel like I struggle to want to play new stuff nowadays, too much weird tension, like... is it going to get super hard out of nowhere, is the game going to be too short / long, are there going to be some long, boring slow parts out of nowhere, etc. Whereas I've been popping in these old Gamecube games and just going at it. Play and play and play and don't even think about it. It's so easy!


Posted by 
 on: 02/22/20, 07:37:37  - Edited by 
 on: 02/23/20, 23:58:32
@Zero

Echoes is still solid but it definitely has its issues, environmental variety/quality being one of the biggest for me (at least until Sanctuary Fortress). I kind of liked Dark Aether's oppressive atmosphere and generally creepy vibe when you recognize the corrupted versions of rooms you'd explored on the light side. But the way they handled it the life thing was strange as you mentioned, and encouraged waiting.

I think an "air" system would've worked better. You know, like how when you swim in a lot of 3D games and you have an air meter. Have something like that that replenishes at the lights (rather than life) and have it gradually drain when you're out (draining your health directly when it runs out). It might make it a little too easy since you can pop in and out of the lights without losing life, but it would've alleviated encouraging the long wait at lights. It reminded me of the weird way Mario 64 handled water, where going to the surface mysteriously fills up your life entirely since it's tied to your breath/air.


Posted by 
 on: 02/22/20, 17:56:50
Yeah from a design standpoint I wonder why they made those things that give your health back. I think maybe so players don't get to a point where they're not dead but close enough that they have no way to progress without dying next time they leave a bubble? But some kind of system where it doesn't immediately kill you to step out might work better? Like the breathing one you mentioned. Because as it stands, it's just odd since it's supposed to be this place that is like SO ROUGH IT KILLS YOU JUST TO BE THERE, but in actuality it's pretty easy because you just keep getting your health back all the time.

It especially stands out for some of the bosses because I can be playing so poorly but still have like almost full health the whole fight. Though IIRC some of them take away the bubbles, at least at times? I guess I'll find out soon enough.

But yeah this sucks because I like the concept of a dark world that hurts you, they just didn't really pull it off well. A lot of stuff in Prime 2 is like, good ideas on paper, not quite pulled off as well as it could have been. I still love it, but it could have been a sequel that is even better than Prime!

With that said, I absolutely LOVE the swamp, and I feel like this is a rare opinion? I think we even had a poll or something here about the various Prime environments (though I can't find one) and it performed very poorly. But I love it! It feels like a very interesting environment because it has two environments in one, above the surface and below the surface, going back and forth a lot. Like Brinstar and Maridia in one!
Has some cool puzzles that blend the two environments. Honestly just one of my favorite Metroid areas. Or was! We'll see if I still feel the same!


Posted by 
 on: 02/23/20, 02:40:40  - Edited by 
 on: 02/23/20, 02:46:30
I don't think I ever got beyond about a third into Metroid Prime 2. Anytime I start to think about Metroid Prime 4, I have to remind myself, "Wait, I could just play Metroid Prime 2" haha. But I feel like I'd want to replay the first one before playing the sequel, and if I'm gonna play the first two then I have to replay the whole trilogy... but then am I gonna be sick of Metroid Prime before the fourth one comes out!?


Posted by 
 on: 02/23/20, 22:28:08
@Secret_Tunnel I was actually a bit worried that replaying them all now would get me burnt out for Metroid Prime 4, but let's be real, at this rate Prime 4 probably won't be out until late 2022, or even later.

And honestly, I want to be hyped for Prime 4, but it has had such a weird development history that I don't know what to expect at this point. Even being at the level of the lowest of the trilogy (which for me would be Prime 3) would still be something I could happy with, but I fear it won't even hit that level.

But then, it could blow us away. WHO KNOWS?!

ANYWAY, I think most people would agree that the first of the three main areas of Prime 2 is the weakest one, so if you made it 1/3 through, you should keep going! The final area is universally loved. And the second area is Zeroversally loved!


Posted by 
 on: 02/24/20, 00:02:41  - Edited by 
 on: 02/24/20, 02:58:25
I like aspects of Torvus Bog, such as it's catchy music and the Super Metroid musical throwback in the water sections. Also the water fights were fairly ominous. I wish the swamp/jungle area was a bit more...I dunno, vibrant or visually appealing or something. It's so gray and muted! It should be crammed full of weird neon alien plants, enormous flowers, bioluminescent caverns stretching for miles, etc. It just kinda feels like a rainy, gloomy day in a Louisiana swamp. And we get plenty of those here at home!


Posted by 
 on: 02/24/20, 03:30:08
@Zero

Yeah, I've heard about lots of good stuff from the end section of the game, lots of giant boss fights and cool architecture! Maybe I'll try it again.


Posted by 
 on: 02/24/20, 06:57:39
UPDATES

Metroid Prime 2: Echoes - Finished Torvus Bog, got to the first save in the Sanctuary Fortress

First off, let's talk about the bog. I still love it! Though it has I think the same issue that Prime 2 overall has... the dark world parts are well, not bad, just not as interesting as the light world stuff. With that said, the bog's dark world stuff is more interesting than the wasteland, had some neat puzzles and such.

That end boss though, such a grind. Fighting the larva first and then the fully grown adult. It takes FOREVER. But you're also rarely at much risk, since your health keeps going up. Just not really the best boss design. The weird thing about Prime 2 to me is that the mini-bosses are more interesting than the bosses. A lot of the "guardian" fights are interesting.

But yeah, the bog overall, such a neat space. And I love how it's basically two parts, the surface area and then the elevator to deep underwater. And then this music kicks in underwater and MY GOD. Perfect usage of a classic Metroid song.


So I finished that and next up was Sanctuary Fortress.

HOLY FUCK I FORGOT HOW COOL THIS AREA LOOKS. Like, I vaguely remembered back in the days thinking it looked cool but a little odd / random and it felt a bit out of place for Metroid? But now I'm just like... all positive feelings. It fits fine! And it's such amazing design. LOOK AT THIS SHIT.


I know the main art director of the Prime games left to do Armature studios or whatever but I hope they can still pull stuff like this off in Prime 4. The Prime games had such a perfect art style, great mix of realistic and fantasy styles, excellent color use. So many neat little touches too. Like the tiny mechanical creatures that are running across the walls and such.

It's a pretty intense intro segment too. I think the game overall isn't super tough but it's a fairly long stretch in between the last save point before the fortress and the first save point in the fortress and the attacks from the Space Pirate / robots / etc. really ramp up.

Anyway not too far into the fortress yet but excited to keep playing!


Posted by 
 on: 02/27/20, 18:09:39  - Edited by 
 on: 02/27/20, 18:15:49
I just had the Wii hooked up a few weeks back to replay Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (GameCube) in advance of the remake. And I just want to say that it's a HUGE DESIGN FLAW that you can't navigate the Wii menu with a GameCube controller! Because much to my chagrin, my last Wiimote decided to just die while it was boxed away, and I had to go buy another one just to play a GCN game. But it was worth it in the end. I also still have a lot of nostalgia for both eras.

Zero said:
Youíll probably also notice I didnít replay any Zelda games this time around, which if you know how much I love Zelda, might seem a bit odd. I do actually still have my copies of Wind Waker and Twilight Princess on me, but I guess to me Zelda is not the type of thing you can just jump into and play for an hour or so and get much out of it (and the one Iím most interested in replaying, Twilight Princess, starts off very slow.)

So, with a little bit of a lull in the action I replayed Twilight Princess over the past two weeks. It was the only 3D Zelda I never replayed, and I haven't played it since 2007. This was also the Wii U HD remaster, so it's the first time I experienced the "true" (non-mirrored) Twilight Princess. I've been meaning to get around to replaying TP for several years now and with me breaking the Wii U back out for Minish Cap purposes, now was the right time.

Part of the reason I really wanted to replay this game was because of how fast I blew through it the first time. It was a busy semester for me in college and I had pretty much one week blocked out for TP and that was it. So this time around I wanted to take my time and do as much exploring and doing side-content instead of staying strictly on the golden path.

And I just want to say that boy, time hasn't done this game many favors. The beginning of the game is way, way slower than I remember it being. And up through the third dungeon, I can't get over how linear and restrictive this game is. They weren't things I would have noticed as problems the first time through because I didn't stop to enjoy the scenery at all. But we're talking about a real substantial chunk of the game where you can't do anything or go anywhere except where the game wants you to go. And it's like, "I've got 500 rupees and I can't spend them on anything!"

After beating the game in 2006, I did eventually go back and do all of the side content a few months later, and came to the conclusion that the overworld was really empty, lifeless and lacking in compelling content. Going back to it after Breath of the Wild makes it look that much worse. But I still felt like Twilight Princess' main quest was great for the most part (aside from the story, which I always thought was disappointing). I was blown away by the dungeons and the set piece moments on the first playthrough.

Now? I'm second-guessing a lot of that. Some of the set piece moments impressed me back then because they were something new for the series, but I see them as pretty shallow "one use only" tricks that the game is filled with. Like the escort mission with the wagon back to Kakariko. I didn't remember that as being terrible, but it is terrible. And even the dungeons aren't as good as I remember. I think at the time, it was really cool that they shook up the types of locations and settings that could be considered Zelda dungeons, but once you get past the aesthetics the dungeons themselves aren't all that special. It's not that they're bad; the Arbiter's Grounds and Snowpeak Ruins are still really good dungeons, but they just aren't as great as I remember them being. And dungeons that I initially thought were "meh" all along (Temple of Time, Palace of Twilight) just flat-out suck. City in the Sky is the only dungeon that still holds up for me as being a classic.

So yeah, this replay of TP was an eye-opening adventure. I've come to the conclusion that I had a very unique initial playthrough of it, and I've overrated it for years as a result. I was incredibly disappointed with Wind Waker and after almost three years of nonstop hype for TP, I needed it to be this amazing "game of my dreams". And I convinced myself that certain aspects of it were better than they are. It's still a good game, but not the very good/great one I used to consider it to be. I've come around on the idea that Skyward Sword is the better game of the two. It's guilty of many of the same sins as TP and is a worse offender in some big ways, but it has higher highs as well with its story, soundtrack, boss fights and so on. The dungeons for me were always the thing that elevated TP up a few notches in my eyes, so I was very surprised to come out of this replay not as impressed with them anymore.

[end ramble] How long's it been since you've played TP? I'm curious to see if anyone else has a similar experience when going back and replaying it.


Posted by 
 on: 03/08/20, 18:39:50
I haven't replayed it ever, and my first time was right when the Wii came out so... 2006? And yeah I remember the first few hours being slowwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

I feel like it'd be tough for me to go back to stuff years later and say "I overrated this!" though, because like, why would my experience years later be more valid than the first experience? Especially since years later you're looking at stuff from the perspective of where games have gone since then, so a lot won't be fresh of course.


Posted by 
 on: 03/08/20, 22:39:32
@Zero

I think for me what it comes back to is that I played through TP the first time in a way that I've never played a Zelda game before or since. It was my most-wanted game for years and it ended up releasing at a time where I had very little time for gaming. Usually whenever I've ever felt the need to rush through a game before some arbitrary deadline, it's usually been to the detriment of the experience, but in the case of TP I overlooked a lot of things I'd normally take issue with. That's one of the main reasons I've always had this desire to replay it, because I remembered so little about my first playthrough, especially those early hours. I blew through the game like it was a race. I always wanted to go back to it and play it like I would have normally played through a Zelda game, at my own pace.

That's where I think it's been the most eye-opening to me. There have been a lot of criticisms levied towards TP over the years, some I've agreed with and some I haven't. Stuff like how slow the start of the game is. It's something that bothered me a lot more with Skyward Sword. But this time around, and while I was deliberately taking my sweet time, like - holy crap - my save at the end of the first dungeon was at the 7 hour mark. That's insane.

And it's not just how I played through it the first time that I think has colored my impressions of the game, but also what it represented to me at the time and what I wanted it to be. I still felt burned by TWW, and I had gotten the idea in my head that TP was going to solve all of the world's problems; it wasn't just going back to the art style of OoT/MM, it was going to be a return to that same level of greatness. So instead of just looking forward to playing a new Legend of Zelda game, I was going into it with a warped level of expectations of it being better than the previous game and living up to these games I adored. And instead of being disappointed that it didn't do the latter, I overvalued it for doing the former. Was I a fanboy for Twilight Princess? It's very possible.

So it's weird because you're right, there's a lot of validity to an initial playthrough of a game. But at the same time, my head was in a different space then and I think that matters as well, maybe as much as how games have changed over the years. And it cuts both ways too, I think. I've come back to games/movies/albums/etc. that I didn't like before and came away with a renewed appreciation. Far removed from when that game came out and all of the hype surrounding it, I feel like I can look at it much more objectively now than I did then.


Posted by 
 on: 03/08/20, 23:33:06
Yeah I don't mean to discount your experience. I just think in general going back things won't feel *quite* as impressive, but there are a lot of reasons that might be the case. Of course, a lot of this thread is just me being like OLD GAMECUBE / WII GAMES ARE STILL AWESOME.

But for instance, overworldwise well, we have all experienced Breath of the Wild now, so no past overworld can ever stand up to that. But I think AT TIME TIME, Twilight Princess had one of the best of the (admittedly not so great in general) 3D overworlds. I remember it had a handful of secrets that actually involved little gameplay sections and not just bombing a rock and grabbing what you find in the hole!

But yeah I don't really replay Zelda games in general (except the early ones you can get through in under 20 hours) and definitely the super slow start of Twilight Princess makes it like doubly unlikely that I will ever go back to it.


Posted by 
 on: 03/09/20, 02:43:57  - Edited by 
 on: 03/09/20, 03:00:13
@TheBigG753
When the HD remaster came out, I replayed the beginning of Twilight Princess. And I still feel that the criticisms are overblown. The intro doesn't take THAT long, and it's not like an RPG or MGS game, where you're just watching a non-interactive, expository cutscene. The wolf is fine, and the monkey temple is fun. It has freakin' monkeys!


Posted by 
 on: 03/09/20, 15:35:40
@Zero

I never really liked the overworld in TP. I always thought it was a bigger version of OoT Hyrule with more or less the same amount of stuff, so it felt much emptier as a result. And obviously post-BotW it looks a lot worse, seeing as how massive that world is while being incredibly dense with content. But the linearity and restrictiveness of what you can do and where you can go - especially through the first 3 dungeons - is one of the things that affected me differently this time. My mindset on the first playthrough was "keep going forward, and do all of the sightseeing later". I hadn't realized until this most-recent replay that a large portion of the game *has* to be played that way.

Anyways, I clocked in at around ~50 hours total (100%ing it again) and that's definitely the high end as far as games I'm willing to replay, and it was mainly because it'd been such a long time and I had a lull in games I was playing at the moment. MM will probably be the next Zelda I'll replay whenever I get the opportunity, since my last replay (16 years ago now...yikes!) was somewhat tainted by the buggy GameCube version. But after that I doubt I'm going to replay any of the 3D Zeldas again. It's not just that the 2D games are much less of a time investment, but they're also just paced so much better. Well, the non-DS games anyway... There's no way I'm ever going to replay BotW despite how much I love that game. 200+ hours and so much of my enjoyment came from all of the discoveries that won't be new anymore. I've considered "well, I guess I could replay it and do the divine beasts in the opposite order", but that alone hasn't gotten me excited enough to put another 100 hours or so into it.

@Anand

The thing that is frustrating about TP's pacing is how often you'll get to a new area, and you can't do anything there and have to leave and come back. Or get a new item and not be allowed to use it out in the world until you do some busy work first. And there are too many things the game has you do multiple times (usually once as the wolf and again as human) that feel unnecessary, like the game is stalling for time. That's another thing I've come to appreciate so much more about the 2D games (particularly LA and the Capcom games). They've rarely felt the need to pad out the between-dungeons content with BS and break the flow. Minish Cap only really did this once when tasking you with finding the missing library books, but they managed to make that segment fun anyway.

It's like, "Okay, cool, now I can go to the snow area." And you get there and it's like, "Nah, you have to go catch a red fish!" And you can't just go do that, you have to go back to Kakariko to talk to somebody and then go back to Zora's Domain and catch the red fish, which was like, 50 feet away from the entrance to Snowpeak. Probably the most egregious example is after you get the dominion rod, Midna is like "go to Telma's bar". And they're like, "Shad is at Kakariko". And in Kakariko, they're like "Go back to see Telma". And then you go back to Kakariko again. And it's probably only like 15-20 minutes of real time, but it's a pretty unnoteworthy 15-20 minutes. TP is littered with these sequences that are just so unremarkable. TP and SS are obsessed with halting progression from one dungeon to the next with these types of moments, and both would be much better games if they just sent you on your merry way to the next area.

The beginning of TP is definitely slow because it's a series of these segments before you can even leave the opening village. The herding isn't anything particularly fun or interesting, and you have to do that twice. And the first stretch as Wolf Link really dragged on much longer than I remembered. It's a while from escaping the castle, and then going back to the village to get the sword/shield, and then *groan* tears of light, which doesn't amount to much more than warping to Midna's location. And your reward for clearing the twilight is to go back through that same area of the woods for a third time, this time slowly following the monkey w/ the lantern. I had forgotten about that. Three times (!!) you have to go through the same stretch of Faron Woods before you can enter the temple. It's baaaaaaaaaad.


Posted by 
 on: 03/09/20, 21:18:05
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